Bipolar disorder is a medical condition that causes a person to experience extreme highs (mania) as well as extreme lows (depression). It typically begins during late adolescence. During a manic episode, a person’s mood is excessively high, irritable or aggressive, and he or she may engage in unusually risky or impulsive behavior. During a depressive episode, a person may feel sad, withdraw from friends and family and lose interest in previously enjoyable activities. While bipolar disorder may have genetic causes, symptoms may be triggered by extreme stress, sleep disruption or drug and alcohol use. In addition to counseling and medication, successful management of bipolar disorder includes a healthy lifestyle of exercise, sleep and good nutrition. Effective coping skills and a support network are also beneficial.